The Akira live-action remake has been rumored, talked about, in pre-production, out of pre-production, with director, without director and in every other development phase you can think of since its announcement nearly four years ago. So many stories have flown around about it that it’s fallen into that realm where we just don’t believe it’s going to actually happen anymore, like Ghostbusters 3 and the Arrested Development movie (yeah, I still don’t buy it).
But it seems like there might be a light at the end of the tunnel for Akira. According to Variety, the film’s producers over at Appian Way, Leonardo DiCaprio’s firm, recently made a presentation to the big whigs over at Warner Bros. who will actually be the ones throwing money at this thing. The big change from previous presentations is that the budget has been drastically revised to what sources believe will be a much more palatable number than what was previously proposed, which bordered on $150 million. Nothing to sneer at.
So with a decision about production right around the corner, the only questions left to be answered are who will direct this beast of a film, and will they do it right? Akira was released in 1988 and is one of the most recognizable and popular animes to date, even now almost 25 years later. Taking on a story of this magnitude is incredibly ambitious and can easily be, for lack of a better term, fucked up royally. The original anime spanned six graphic novels and translating that into a two hour anime was hard enough, making a live-action version on a slimmed down budget could be disastrous.
Appian Way, and whoever takes over at the helm since Albert Hughes was jettisoned, has bigger hurdles to leap than budget negotiations. The legions of Akira fans will be watching closely for missteps, some they’ve already made by announcing that the film will be Americanized. If the Akira fanbase doesn’t want to see this, no one will be left to spread the word to anyone else.
As a huge fan of the anime, I’d love to see a live-action version of this work, but I honestly don’t see it happening. GFR will keep you updated as the story unfolds, but if they announce that this film will take place in Neo-Los Angeles, we may just give up altogether.